Consumers Feel Stressed By Data Breaches But Fail to Act

Finding out that you’re the victim of a data breach is stressful, but most people in that position fail to take action to protect themselves from identity theft following a breach. That’s the finding in a new study by the Ponemon Institute.

There were more than 600 known data breaches in the U.S. last year, the largest at Target where more than 100 million shoppers had their personal information stolen, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. The Ponemon study found that 76 percent of consumers report feeling stress when they learn that their information has been compromised; however, less than 50 percent took concrete steps to guard against identity theft.

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More than 700 consumers participated in the survey.

In the report, "Aftermath of a Mega Data Breach: Consumer Sentiment,"data breach "fatigue" was cited as the likely reason for the inaction. In the previous two years, 30 percent of those surveyed had received at least two data breach notifications, 15 percent had received three, while 10 percent received more than five.

"This is an interesting time to look at consumer opinions and behavior in the aftermath of data breaches," said Michael Bruemmer, vice president, Experian Data Breach Resolution. "The awareness of breaches and how to protect your identity is much more heightened among the consumer mindset now. There is a greater expectation from consumers that the breached organization will do as much as it can to rectify the situation and work to regain the consumers' trust."

Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that the organizations involved in the breach should be responsible for providing identity theft protection services for victims. Almost half believe their identity is at risk for years or forever.

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